A marathon evening.

Last night, two hours and 59 minutes of glorious music wrapped up a series of three evenings, showcasing the talents of the 2013 Academy Participants. In the spirit of sharing the works that they began to rehearse just a week ago, the performances were astonishing to me. Not a note was played or sung without joy, reminding us how glad we all are that these emerging artists have come together to immerse themselves in an experience that we trust is as formative and beneficial for them as it is inspiring for us to hear. The conductorless chamber orchestra began with selections from Muffat’s “Noble Youth” suite, aptly tiitled and chosen for the stageful of strings, oboes, and continuo players. Then we moved on to a program that, in all but one or two pieces, focused on the great German tradition of sacred vocal works, including motets and arias by Bach, Bruhns, Buxtehude, and Schütz. A sensational excerpt from Telemann’s Tafelmusik in D for trumpet, oboe, and strings was performed with all the elan that its composer would have expected, and a graceful setting by the French composer, Pascal Collasse, of texts by Jean Racine transported us quickly and happily to another realm before returning to the city of Hamburg for Weckmann’s big “Weine nicht,” a work for groups of violins, viols, and voices. So it was a great big holiday trip, beginning in Bavaria with Muffat’s suite, joining up with Schütz in Dresden, then off to Leipzig, Lübeck, and Copenhagen, stopping in Hamburg for Telemann, and ultimately returning there (following a quick side-trip to France!) to close the journey – and all in under three hours!

Thanks to the Academy Participants for three nights of wonderful music! We’re so grateful to them for their artistry and focus.

Today we have two rehearsals for Esther, morning and evening, and in between are two more free public events. All the bass string instruments — cellos, contrabasses, violones, and viols — will join forces for the master class, and Academy co-director Corey Jamason will offer his insights into the fine elegance of Bach’s great Mass in B Minor.